CIGI Papers, December, 2011
The effects of the ongoing global financial crisis have intensified the existing economic issues facing the Commonwealth Caribbean, including declining investment, productivity levels and employment opportunities for its citizens. Although the current crisis presents challenges for governments in the region, it also offers an opportunity for these countries to implement innovative solutions to contend with the short-term effects of the financial crisis, while addressing long-standing problems. A solution that has been successful in Botswana, Ireland and Barbados, is the use of social partnerships. Undertaken while these countries were facing economic and social crises, social partnership as a specific governance model allowed them to achieve levels of development and stability that other states yearn to attain.
The independence of the European Central Bank (ECB), seemingly guaranteed by its statutes, is presently under attack. The ECB has been led to acquire large amounts of government debt of the weaker euro zone members, both to help contain their interest costs and to help protect the solvency of banks throughout the zone that hold their debt. This paper presents a model of a dependent central bank that internalizes the government’s budget constraint. Using a Barro-Gordon framework, the model embodies both the desire to stimulate output and to provide monetary financing to governments. The model implies that not only shock asymmetries, but also fiscal asymmetries, are important in the membership calculus of desirable monetary unions. On the basis of this framework, calibrated to euro zone data, the current membership is shown not to be optimal: other members would benefit from the expulsion of several countries, notably Greece, Italy and France.